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Salvation Army moving to bigger facility

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By Todd Cohen

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Salvation Army in Wake County is buying a building inside the Beltline to triple the space for its administrative offices, women-and-children’s shelter and emergency-assistance services now housed at its downtown Raleigh facility.

With funds from a $6 million capital campaign it will launch, the agency plans to buy and renovate the vacant 41,000-square-foot building and 4.16 acres at 1821 Capital Blvd. that formerly housed Edwards & Broughton Printing Co.

The $1.5 million deal is set to close March 14, and the Salvation Army expects to begin renovations by early 2008, and occupy its new home within two years, says Ashley Delamar, director of operations and communications.

The Wake County agency, founded in 1887, plans to sell the 13,096-square-foot building on nearly an acre it has owned for 30 years at 215 S. Person St. adjacent to Moore Square, but it first must secure a variance from the city of Raleigh.

The Salvation Army does not have a buyer for that facility but will work closely with the city to develop plans for it, Delamar says.

To boost the campaign, the A.J. Fletcher Foundation has pledged to give $1 million, tentatively to be paid over four years in installments of $250,000 for each $1 million the campaign raises. [The Philanthropy Journal is a publication of the Foundation.]

Prompting the move has been rising demand for services, reflecting a doubling of Wake County’s population since the Salvation Army built its current home, says Major Al Smith, commanding officer.

“As the city and county area grows, that brings more people to our door,” he says.

In its fiscal year ended last Sept. 30, the agency served 91,000 individuals, up from 80,000 a year earlier.

And its 34-bed shelter has a waiting list of 41 families, or 122 individuals.

At the new site, the shelter initially will house at least 70 beds, plus more programs for residents.

New facilities will include classroom space; computer lab and learning center; medical clinic; counseling space for individuals and families; children’s day care; and a playground and recreational space.

Dollars from the campaign also will fund expansion of other social-ministries programs the agency now provides downtown, including emergency food, clothing and financial assistance; increasing to seven from three the number of case managers working with clients; hiring two staffers for the day-care center; increasing to three from one the number of after-hours shelter supervisors; and creating endowments for programs and services, and for building maintenance.

All three emergency-assistance programs currently can serve a total of 55 individuals a day, and resources available for them are exhausted each morning within 30 minutes of the time the agency opens its doors, Delamar says.

“It’s very limited space, and requests for services far exceed our capabilities on this site,” he says.

As the Salvation Army expands services for women and children, it also wants to make those services more “holistic,” addressing clients’ needs in areas such as health care, diet and exercise, and financial literacy, says Bob Woronoff, chair of the agency’s board of advisors and owner of Benmot Publishing.

“We want to provide not just a roof over their head, but also try to get them so they can support themselves,” he says.

Delamar says the Salvation Army has not decided whether to move to its new facility the evening-meal program that feeds roughly 100 individuals each weeknight, or keep it downtown in partnership with other agencies.

As part of its focus on women and children, he says, the Salvation Army also is developing plans to address the needs of immigrants who are the victims of human trafficking, brought to the U.S. only to be exploited for prostitution and slavery.

With its move and expansion, Smith says, the Salvation Army “will be able to provide better services and more programs.”

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